Divinity of Christ

J. Wilfred Johnson

Sabbath School Lesson Feb. 5, 1983

Transcribed Jan. 17, 2014

Note: This meeting is actually a small Sabbath School lesson given by Mr. Johnson at the College Heights Church Alberta, Canada. There are other groups meeting in the sanctuary at the same time as well as individuals talking among themselves. All of this background noise makes it nearly impossible to hear individuals addressing Mr. Johnson with their comments or questions.

(Wilfred) The last couple of weeks we have thought of the incarnation more in terms of the humanity of Christ. And today we are to zero in on the divinity of Christ as He lived in humanity. I think I asked you the question once before; Do you believe that Jesus was human? And I think your answer was yes. Do you believe that He was altogether human? Did He have humanity the same way that you and I have it or was it different from our humanity? I shouldn't ask such hard questions.

(A woman) I believe He was fully human but He also retained his divinity but didn't use it.

(Wilfred) He was fully human but He was also divine He retained his divinity but He didn't use it. That was the answer that was given. How do you feel about that?

(Another woman) He had to use it at times otherwise He wouldn't have been able to know people's hearts or thoughts, He wouldn't have been able to forgive sins or He wouldn't have...

(Wilfred) May I ask this question? Are we just a little bit hazy about it? Would you let me attempt to pick up some of the pieces that might help to be a little more unhazy for us?  Now I know our lesson today deals with the divinity of Christ that He did retain his divinity and that we have evidences that He had his divinity and that He made use of his divine power. Our lesson goes through and shows us some of these evidences, picks them out.

The first one; there were times when divinity flashed through humanity, whatever that means, but outwardly people were aware that something about this man was different. What things were noticed at times about Jesus that people could actually see and realize that here was a man that had something that other men did not have.


(Another woman) His face lit up.

(Wilfred) His face lit up; there was a shinning in his face. It brightened up and they saw this. Has a thing like that even happened in our day? Are you aware that this has ever happened in our day? Do you think that maybe the Devil at times is attempting to counterfeit things that happened with Jesus? Well let’s put it this way; there are times when people think they see something like that and certainly there are manifestations in the spirit world that at times apparently imitated this. I think that's about as far as I care to go on it today. But the devil does attempt to imitate and counterfeit everything that God does.

Now my next question, do you think that there has been a genuine duplication of what has happened in the life of Jesus in this respect today? Are you aware of any?

(A man) Unintelligible

(Wilfred) We have a good student here. Now of course that can mean symbolically that their faces light up. You know how your face lights up sometimes when you become inspired with an idea? Not physically just that there is a glow that comes in the expression.  I am not going to rule on whether this is actually going to shine or not.  We'll see in due time.

(Another woman) Unintelligible

(Wilfred) Yes, there are times when it appears to someone that someone's face appears to be glowing.

(Another woman) Unintelligible

(Wilfred) It was the shinning of divinity that caused it right? Because he had seen the divine Christ and it had irradiated his face. Actually I think that, now this is my impression, that it was actually a phosphorescence type of thing, an irradiation, we can duplicate that in the laboratory today by irradiating something and it will glow in the dark. It could be the very same thing but I would not want to rule on it however. But Moses' face did receive some form of energy as he met with Christ up there on the mount that he retained when he went down and it was shinning so brightly that he had to veil his face because the people couldn't stand to look at it, but it wore off.

The second one; what was the second one that he mentioned here in the lesson? Evidence of his divinity. He was able to read the hearts of men or their thoughts. There are several illustrations given and I don't want to spend all my time going through all the details of this, I hope you studied these things yourself. But the Samaritan woman discovered that here was a man that could read things that had happened in her life and what was the impression that she received? Oh, you must be a prophet. Then when He mentioned that He was the Messiah she accepted it. She believed it and went off to testify. So Jesus revealed his divinity to this woman by telling her the secrets of her life.

Then there was Zacchaeus, He understood Zacchaeus and He stopped under the tree. And there was another one here. Oh, he lists a whole lot of them. Nathaniel, Nicodemus, the young ruler, Peter, the Pharisees, those surrounding the woman taken in adultery, the people who were cleansing the temple, those around Lazarus' home, and those present when Christ faced the test of Caesar's coin. He often read hearts, Jesus gave the Rabbis an evidence of his divinity by showing that He read their hearts and it was more than a matter of intelligence as shown by Pilate when he read the purpose of the priests. And the references are all given in the last paragraph on page 94 in the second part of your lesson. He gives all the references and you may look them up in the Desire of Ages if you want the settings of each of those.

What else did He do to reveal his divinity? He revealed the future and a number of illustrations are given of that. He told his disciples, this is probably one of the major ones, He told his disciples what was going to happen in his own experience how that He was going to be crucified by the Jews and how that He would rise the third day. He gave them a picture of the closing events down through history and down to the closing time and the signs before his coming and all the rest of it, Matthew 24.

Now my question relative to these two things: He read people's minds and He foretold the future. Do we have an attempt to duplicate this type of thing today? Yes, I don't know how much you are aware of it but I've got a file full of this stuff at home of things that have been happening in the last few years. Performances by Satan duplicating or imitating or trying to impersonate the things that Jesus did. You see it's all building up to the great counterfeit when somebody will appear attempting to be Christ using the same evidences that Jesus used to reveal his divinity when He was here on earth. And how are you going to be able to detect whether this is a genuine thing or not? And what is it about the Scriptures that will tell us that this is not Christ?

(Another man) The manner of his coming.

(Wilfred) The manner of his coming. How is Jesus going to come? Well, like the lightening from the east to the west in the clouds of heaven, every eye shall see him. This Satan is not permitted to counterfeit.

(Same man) Unintelligible

(Wilfred) Very good thought brother. I don't know whether you all heard it. I wish we had a closed room where we could sit around and hear each other. But the idea was that on Mount Carmel Elijah was able to bring down fire from heaven, he didn't do it God did it in his presence. The thought was expressed that Satan will be permitted to counterfeit that in the last days too. In fact I wonder if there is any sign that God has produced that the Devil will not be able to counterfeit in some fashion or other. Even to the resurrection of Lazarus, now we know that Satan cannot give life but he can perform an experience that people will accept as being the restoration of life. We have instances where people are apparently dead, for all practical proposes they are dead and really they aren't quite dead and they come to life again. And it is pretty difficult to determine whether this is a genuine resurrection or not but what did Jesus do with Lazarus that the Devil absolutely could not counterfeit?

(Another woman) Unintelligible

(Wilfred) He had been dead for four days and in that hot climate you know what condition his body would be in and He brought him back to life. Well, we must move on. I wanted to gather up these other points here too.

Another one; He escaped his enemies. We could say quite a few things about this experience. But to save time I think I'll just pass it by quickly by saying that Jesus actually didn't disappear He just became invisible. Now if you read your lesson carefully you would have discovered that. He was still there and He passed by in the midst of them but they didn't see him. And the same thing happened when He was in the upper room when He appeared to the disciples in the upper room. If you had read your Spirit of Prophecy closely you would have caught the picture. He did not come in through the wall. He was a physical being.

(Another woman) Unintelligible

(Wilfred) He came in through the door while it was still open but He was invisible and then He revealed himself. But I don't suppose that's an important point.

(Same woman) Unintelligible

(Wilfred) Yes, I wouldn't want to rule on it. But I rather think that what you said was correct that it was their eyes that were held. In one place that was true. Their eyes were holden it says so they couldn't see him. But whether they all were held so that they couldn't see him or whether He was in fact made invisible by some other process I don't think it really matters too much. To me it doesn't anyway. All I know is that He was invisible but He was still there solid and sound. He wasn't just a spirit, you know these spirits that appear to people in the form of ghosts you can go right through them and they can go right through a wall. They are spirits, they are in nothing tangible there in the sense that we speak of tangible things. But Jesus was in a tangible physical body. Let's not forget that. He is in a physical body. And that's what we will be in even though we're translated. We won't be spirits; do you understand what I'm saying?

One more here, He forgave sins, is that really a sign of divinity? Can we not forgive sins?

(Same woman) Well we can to each other but it's not like when Jesus forgives sins.

(Wilfred) Ok, you do see a difference do you? I mean you do something that is against me, maybe you wouldn't even call it a sin, but you did do something and I didn't like it. Then you can repent of having done that thing to me and you come to me and say I'm sorry would you please forgive me. And I say yes, I forgive you. Well is that the same thing as forgiving sins?

(Another woman) Unintelligible

(Wilfred) That's right. Is there any sin that is not against God? Every sin is against God in it's ultimate. And without God's forgiveness the sin is not really forgiven. But anyway how did Jesus use this device to indicate his divinity? He didn't just forgive sins there was something else that happened.

He had restored the damage that had been done by the sin. So when He said, is it easier for me to say take up your bed and walk or your sins have been forgiven, which is easier? So Jesus was tying the two together He had the power not only to forgive the sin but also to heal the affliction caused by the sin. And don't forget, Jesus has the power to save you from eternal damnation, the penalty of sin. He will forgive your sins and He will also give you life eternal. That's a happy thought.

I want to go back to some of these previous lessons to pick out the little spots here to see if we can't help to unfold this combination of divinity and humanity a bit. Here is what Ellen White says in the Signs of the Times May 10, 1899. She says; "Although Christ's divine glory was for a time veiled and eclipsed by his assuming humanity, yet He did not cease to be God when He became man. The human did not take the place of the divine, nor the divine of the human. This is the mystery of Godliness. The two expressions human and divine were, in Christ, closely and inseparably one, and yet they had a distinct individuality." They were one and yet they were two and distinct and it's a mystery.

(Another woman) Unintelligible

(Wilfred) I appreciate your question very much and I anticipated it, and that's exactly where I am moving. I don't know whether I'll have time to cover it all today. If I don't get through it all today I would like to bring it in sequence, I'll finish it next week and I'll answer your question. But for me to say it right now, I'm not really prepared to say it right now I want to give you some material. Would you go with me that far?

(Same woman) Unintelligible.

(Wilfred) Thanks. The idea is did Christ use his divinity by which He preformed these manifestations or was it a power that He was depending on his Father to give him? That's a good question. "Though Christ humbled himself to become man, the Godhead was still his own. His Deity could not be lost while He stood faithful and true to his loyalty." Now this is Sister White talking and I stumbled on that statement a little bit. "While He stood faithful and true to his loyalty." Do you realize that while He was in his humanity He stood there at the risk of eternal loss? Why that's terrible.

(Same woman) Unintelligible

(Wilfred) Yes, but the very thought that He exposed himself to that risk, isn't that something? "Surrounded with sorrow, suffering, and moral pollution, despised and rejected by the people to whom had been entrusted the oracles of heaven, Jesus could yet speak of Himself as the Son of man in heaven. He was ready to take once more his divine glory when his work on earth was done. He had the power to lay down his life and to take it again. Now this question of divinity and laying down divinity, his divine life, it's a big question and I would love to discuss it. I get so frustrated because we don't have time to do what I would like to do. Then I try to rush through it then I think I give a half-baked performance and leave you confused. I listen back to the tapes once in a while and I almost cry when I think, now if I just had the time to carry that through there then they would have understood what I was trying to say. But I am sure they didn't understand it because I went too fast and I didn't get it all said. So that's how I feel. But if you ever come to a point where you get a question that confuses you and you don't know for sure what I meant wouldn't you just ask me and give me a chance to square it up with you? I don't want to deceive you or mislead you but I would sure like to share the truth that is in these books with you. So, let's move on.

This is in The Desire of Ages page 530; "In Christ is life, original, unborrowed, underived." In another place in here it speaks of him as the source of life. It's in this book here. Should I read it while I'm thinking about it? It's on page 1113 of the 5th volume of the SDA Bible Commentary. She says here; "All created things live by the will and power of God. They are dependent recipients of the life of the Son of God. However able and talented, however large their capabilities, they are replenished with life from the Source of all life." Now whom is she talking about? Jesus the Son of God that's what she was talking about. Well, wasn't the Father the source of all life? How could she make this statement about Jesus? What did Jesus himself say when He was here on earth? As the Father has life in himself so has he given the Son to have life in himself. Jesus said that. So don't you see that God gave to the Son Jesus, his own life? And it was Jesus who created; it was Jesus who sustains you and me. That's what it says here. You see that demonstrates the Fathers character doesn't it? Self-renouncing love. And when He gave his life at Calvary He laid down his divine life in himself He had to relinquish it, He had to separate himself from it. Remember how it says? He felt his union with the Father breaking up, He died in his humanity and I was going the read you those statements today but I can see time moving off on me, He had to lay down his divine life in himself. That's the life that He laid down. If He had not done that He could not have died because divinity cannot die she says. He became separated from the source of life. What was the source of Christ's life? God the Father. I wouldn't dare say that if the Bible didn't say it. If Jesus himself didn't say that I wouldn't dare say it. But that is what it says. So when He laid down his life, where did Adam's spirit of life go when he died? Back to the Father. Where did Christ's spirit of life in himself go when He died? Back to the Father. And who returned it to him? Now listen to what she says about Jesus; Christ was invested with the right to give immortality. The life that He had laid down in humanity, get it now, the life that He had laid down in humanity He again took up and what do you suppose He did with it? Are you ready for it? He gave it to humanity. Do you see how you get eternal life? How you get immortality? Oh she says plainly; He died the death of the sinner, the death that was ours, what kind of a death is that? Eternal death from which there is no hope of a resurrection, He died that you might receive the life that was his. That is what she says. And here she bears it out. I am come He says that they might have life and that they might have it more abundantly.

Now there was a question?

(A Woman) Unintelligible

(Wilfred) I appreciate that, you know I don't know whether you were here the day when I mentioned that we run across many statements in the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy that apparently contradict each other. Have you run across some? Because this is one right here, there are many of them. Let me turn it around and say; how do you put those two pieces together? He had life that was unborrowed and underived, and yet here she says that He relinquished this life that He confesses He got from the Father. That He is able to take it up again after He died the eternal death of the sinner from which there is no hope of a resurrection and yet He can take it again, that's another contradiction and what does He do with it when He gets it again? Gives it to humanity. Now how do you reconcile them? Does anybody want to try it?

(Same woman) Unintelligible

(Wilfred) I'd better read that one; I have it in here too. I am not too sure it completely reconciles it. I'll read it, this is Romans 8:11. "But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you," Now what spirit is that? Who raised up Jesus from the dead? Here is Christ over here and somebody else said God did it.

(Same woman) Unintelligible

(Wilfred) That sounds very good but when He was dead He was asleep, wasn't He? Then how could He hear God calling him? Then how could He take his life if He was asleep? Pretty heavy stuff isn't it? Let me read this text.

"But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead", And both the Spirit of Prophecy and the Bible say in more than one place, and the Bible in several places that God raised him from the dead. It says it very plainly. "Dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you." The question now boils down to this; whose spirit is it talking about? The spirit of God or the spirit of Christ?

(Same woman) Unintelligible

(Wilfred) One and the same. I'm glad you said it. You know that the Spirit of God, the Spirit of life, the Spirit of love, God shared with his Son? The Spirit of Christ is the Spirit of God. The life that Christ has in himself is the life that God has in himself, the Bible bears that out. So that when you are talking about the life of Christ you are also talking about the life of God. When you are talking about the Spirit of Christ you are also talking about the Spirit of God. And the divine life of Christ, that life which He had in himself could not die. And before He went to the tomb while He was still in Gethsemane and on the cross that separated from him, you read it you'll see it, then He died. But He was able to receive that life again. I can't get you the details; I can't solve the mystery, all I know is that the life that was Christ's remained alive in the hands of the Father. It's part of the Everlasting Covenant, the heritage of Christ was turned over to the administrator of his estate according to his last will and testament and the Father delivered it and the Father delivers it to you and me. And what is Jesus up there in the heavenly sanctuary doing right now on behalf of you? He’s praying to his Father. What for? Oh, He says; My blood, My blood, My blood, Father. What does the blood stand for? The life. What is He praying for? The life and what is the life? Well, it's the Spirit of God. That's where the life is. It was the Spirit of God that made Adam alive, but on a different level. The Spirit that Christ had was life in himself, immortal life, divine life. He's praying his Father on our behalf, what's He want to do? He wants the Father to send that life to you and me. I don't have time to show you that you actually partake of eternal life before the second coming of Christ. Yes you do, it's in the book.

But here is our piano again so we'll have to leave it. I will try to continue from this point next week and see if I can work it all in. There are some passages that I would like to read to you so that we get this idea of the relationship of divinity and humanity and try to get this straight in our thinking so we don't get confused on some of these issues as many people are today. Not understanding that Jesus was actually both human and divine and they get mixed up on what kind of humanity He had and so on.

Well, may the Lord bless us but will you please continue to study and get all the facts then you will understand what we are saying when we start talking about them?

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